Xtratime Community banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,453 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I thought I should put his somewhere; an article I found for anyone with a soft spot for the Tree's. :proud:


Where did it all go wrong for Forest?

Fourteen years ago they met Spurs in the FA Cup final; now they meet them as rank underdogs, and with relegation to League One looming. Georgina Turner investigates the sad demise of one of British football's most popular clubs.

Friday February 18, 2005


You've got a lot to answer for, Mr Platt

Fourteen years ago Nottingham Forest and Tottenham Hotspur met in the FA Cup final. Wembley was filled with Puffa jackets, videos were set for Saturday-night favourite Noel's House Party, and Cher's Shoop Shoop Song poured out of the stadium speakers. If that doesn't date the scene, maybe this will: it was expected to be a close game - and it was. With Spurs losing Paul Gascoigne after 14 minutes, Forest were only undone by a fatal error from Des Walker, who headed beyond his own keeper in the 94th minute.

On Sunday they meet again, this time in the fifth round. And this time, it's a different kind of fatality paling Forest cheeks. Even the most optimistic daren't entertain the notion of a win at White Hart Lane. In fact, when Spurs met West Brom in the fourth-round replay to decide who would face Forest, John Motson said it all: "Whoever wins here will host Nottingham Forest in the next round, so there's the prospect of a good cup run here."

No one needs reminding of Forest's impressive history, or of their role in the narrative of the game itself. Their meteoric rise in the 1970s and the charisma that oozed down the Trent in Brian Clough's 18 years in charge hold a place in every neutral's heart. Which makes it all the sadder that Forest now sit 23rd in the Championship, with only Rotherham to cushion their fall. The likelihood is that, as the final whistle is blown on this season, it will be drowned out by a clamorous death knell at the City Ground.

So where did it all go wrong?

Prince might have been partying with the lion in his pocket but for Forest, 1999 was catastrophe No1. In debt to the tune of £20m, the club waved goodbye to the Premiership and hello to a succession of managers - four in all, the last being David Platt, who went on to spend every last penny of the £12m initially invested by chairman Nigel Doughty in his two years at the helm.

David Johnson cost £3m from Ipswich and, for three years at least, proved a worthwhile investment; Perugia's Salvatore Matrecano and Gianluca Petrachi, at £1.2m each and with 21 appearances between them, did not. Platt's man-management skills made Glenn Hoddle look like Jose Mourinho and, as the disharmony in the dressing room increased, so the performances on the pitch became more lacklustre and a procession of good players - Nigel Quashie, Carlton Palmer, Dougie Freedman, Andy Johnson, Steve Chettle and loanees Robbie Blake, Matthew Upson and John Terry - slipped through Nottingham Forest's fingers. By the time Platt made off in the direction of Soho Square to begin life as England U21 coach, heads at the City Ground hung low.

Life as a Nottingham Forest bean-counter has never been too merry an affair, and though Platt's £6m transfer deficit hit hard, things on the pitch improved with the appointment of Paul Hart after four years in charge of the youth academy. The man who launched the careers of Jermaine Jenas, Jonathan Woodgate and Harry Kewell (granted, that sounded a mite more impressive a couple of years ago) was an instant hero at the City Ground. Nottingham was festooned with "We love you Harty" stickers; "Harty is our king" was sung with tear-jerking gusto on Saturday afternoons; even Brian Clough called him: "The best manager they've had, since I left".

In fairness, after Frank Clark and Platt, this was not quite the statement it could have been, but it was easy to make comparisons between Old Big 'Ead and Hart. By 2002-03, Hart had moulded a group of youngsters - including Jenas, Andy Reid, and Michael Dawson - into a fine passing side: under Hart, Forest played the best football outside of the Premiership. And his side was passionate, relentless and close-knit, with unfathomable levels of grit and determination. Their capitulation, then, in the play-off semi-final against Sheffield United in May 2003, was a particularly cruel blow, and catastrophe No2.

Although the two teams finished fourth and sixth, both had a strong claim on being the best entertainment the First Division had to offer. The difference in the second leg, though, was clear: pesky poacher Paul Peschisolido and another Walker own goal signalling game, and dream, over for Nottingham Forest.

It was made all the more heart-breaking by United's dreadful performance at the Millennium Stadium. Wolverhampton Wanderers were 3-0 up without breaking into a sweat, and though Forest only took one point off Wolves in the league that season, the inevitable what-ifs apply.

The most interesting what-if poses a different question, though. What if Forest had at least made the final? Sheffield United's failure still saw them hold on to most of their core players, and they've continued to push for promotion since. Since 2003, Forest have lost David Prutton, Riccardo Scimeca, Darren Ward, Jim Brennan (all to Premiership teams), Marlon Harewood and Gareth Williams. Not turning Darren Huckerby's loan spell into something more permanent was a costly mistake, as was swapping Harewood for the half-as-effective, twice-as-expensive talents of Marlon King - and signing new players has only proved increasingly difficult.

It is not unreasonable, at this juncture, to ask questions of Doughty. In 1999 he promised more money if the club was in the Premiership within three years. Patently, they are not. Less clear though, is whether any money has been made available regardless. When even Joe Kinnear, gloriously rotund wheeler-dealer that he is, struggles to bring players in, you have to wonder.

Doughty, though, has a habit of staying quiet just long enough for his managers to plait enough rope to hang themselves with; now, a year after Hart's departure, Forest are on replacement No3: Gary Megson.

On paper, Megson is an astute choice, having negotiated safety and two promotions for West Brom - and his win rate (42.5%) there was mere specks from Clough's record at Forest (45.3%). And, let's not forget, Megson's signing saw the club safely past raised thumbs from Hoddle and Bryan Robson.

That said, Megson's success at the Hawthorns was based on brutally defensive, route-one stuff, a scheme that doesn't mix well with Forest's genetic disposition towards attractive football - or the stagnant striking trio of Johnson, King and Gareth Taylor (whose profligacy has cost Forest at least eight points this season), for that matter.

Already Megson seems to have inherited Kinnear's uncertainty over what systems get the best out of his players - something Hart never struggled with. He's not quite the man-of-the-club figure Forest lost in Hart, either; and despite his assurances to the contrary, for the fans, and possibly the players, doubt remains as to his commitment should League One swing open its rusty gates.

The sad thing is that Hart was far likelier to have stayed put and started again. In turn he was far likelier to hang onto raw talents like Kris Commons and Wes Morgan. If Forest's fate was always to follow Sheffield Wednesday into League One, might last year have been a better year? Will relegation this season prove to be catastrophe No3?

Forest have 14 games remaining to climb the nine points to safety and stay there. It's not inconceivable, with Coventry in freefall and Megson at least picking up 0-0s. But solitary points are not enough, particularly with local derbies against Leicester and Derby, and seven away games (Forest have yet to win away) remaining. The final game of the season, against relegation rivals Gillingham, could be a miserable day at the City Ground and beyond.

Makes me want to cry....2 games left!! :cry:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
22,104 Posts
Makes me want to get the party poppers out. :D
 

·
Xtratime's Head of Humour 2007
Joined
·
63,337 Posts
David Platt, useless fuker, how he got the England u-21 job is beyond me, he should be washing cars for a living.
 

·
Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
Joined
·
12,813 Posts
I cant GM walking out, its not his style, he'll need to be pushed if he's to go.

He will turn it around but with reports of team sheets being leaked the Friday before the game and a large drinking culture at Forest, expect a lot of players to go or be sent to train with the youths next season.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,091 Posts
Nico said:
I thought I should put his somewhere; an article I found for anyone with a soft spot for the Tree's. :proud:


Where did it all go wrong for Forest?
Good question. I would like to know the answer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38,223 Posts
Jern Lizardhous said:
David Platt, useless fuker, how he got the England u-21 job is beyond me, he should be washing cars for a living.
This is the guy who preferred Glen Johnson as england's right midfielder in a game we needed to win, and didn't even bring on SWP when we were losing 2-1, fresh from him scoring 2 against Bolton. At the same time he had called up Joey Barton, but only after Steven Gerrard suggested him, as Platt had "never even heard of him", despite him playing in the premiership regularly.
 

·
International
Joined
·
9,526 Posts
Nico said:
Where did it all go wrong for Forest?
Cloughie got rid of Teddy Sheringham, which was a crucial mistake, and never replaced him with anyone decent. Midfield was too light, despite the presence of keano (Nigel Clough was pretty comfortable on the ball, but too slow and lightweight for my liking). And losing Des Walker to Sampdoria after the world cup capped it off. Plus, the side started looking fragile in some ways, not quite as fit or strong as other teams. Keano confirmed this in his book when he said the team never did any work with weights. It was just all road work. Clough didn't keep with the times. His side was muscled out of the top flight by sides that weren't anywhere near as good on the ball(Sheffield United etc). And considering that they had Pearce and Keano in there, that says something. Never recovered from that first drop. Stan Collymore appeared to be a good buy, but his antics were no good for the dressing room, nor were the antics of Van Hooydonk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,217 Posts
I'm really sorry to see Forest go down, I wouldn't hope that fate for many clubs.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top